Chapter One: Into Darkness
Chapter One: Into Darkness
My name is Katrina, and I have one hell of a story to share with you if you’re willing to read this.
It all started on what was a typical Saturday evening for me.
I had been dressed in my usual black on black attire. Not goth really, but still a loose black t-shirt and black pants that did give off a kind of eerie air. My dark black hair, short though it was at the moment, was pulled back into something that resembled a ponytail. My green eyes were hidden beneath a pair of soft shades meant to help reduce some of the neon lights’ brightness around me. My eyes had always been sensitive to man-made lights, so the sun-glasses helped out a lot.
I’d finished my college classes for the day and had gone off to my part-time job at the mall just a few miles away. It was a cute little shop that sold weapons. They sold mostly swords, daggers, knives, and the like, but they also had things like crossbows, short bows, and longbows for sale. No guns, though, as the owner had a love of the old fashion. Even so, it was an excellent place for a weapon-nut to hang out and/or work. It was also one of those slow-paced jobs filled with co-workers and regulars’ idle chattering. That or the routine checking and cleaning of stock. On occasion, I’d get a few pointers from the store’s owner on how to use a particular weapon during the quieter nights when he was in.
I’d always loved the place as a kid and had been happy to get a job there, even if it was part-time.
The shift itself went smoothly, and I waved goodbye to the owner before starting home. I took a moment to glance at my watch, and, on seeing that it was going on midnight, I decided to take a back route home. I wanted to get home a little faster tonight as Mom’s mood honestly hadn’t been all that great when I’d left home. Depression was a constant enemy for her, and I worried about her health. I ducked behind a larger building and then around the alleyway behind it, making a no-nonsense bee-line for home. Thankfully, Mom and I lived on the very edges of Las Vegas proper, and this section of the city could be surprisingly quiet compared to the constant noise near all the casinos and resorts in Paradise. The steady roar of the inner city faded to a dull background throb, and the residential areas were usually more peaceful.
It was one of the few things we agreed on any more. Mom and I... well, there were a lot of things that we fought about these days.
I felt my good mood plummet at that last thought. Ever since Mom and Dad got divorced back when I was five, and with him dying in a car accident barely a week after the divorce had been finalized, she has been challenging to deal with. Her depression hadn’t been that bad when I was younger, but since I graduated high school, she’d started to spend her time drinking herself into a stupor. I was worried that one of these days, I’d come home to find her dead from alcohol poisoning—sad days when the kid of the house was more responsible than the supposed adult. Hells, I’d even tried to get her in to see a therapist on occasion or go to one of those alcoholics anonymous meetings, but every time I tried... it just seemed to make her drinking habits worse.
I laughed bitterly to myself, and I made my way through the narrow part of the alleyway, squeezing past a few thin trashcans. I knocked over one of the cans and managed to catch it before it could fall over. I started to straighten the thing out and froze, my melancholy thoughts grinding to a halt. I was suddenly, inexplicably, nervous, and I glanced around myself warily.
Despite not seeing anyone, a wave of fear filled me with a sudden, almost palpable sense that I was not only being watched but also in considerable danger. I’d always had good instincts about these kinds of things, and I found myself suddenly wishing I’d taken the long way around instead of ducking down the usually quiet alleyway. I reached casually toward my belt as I straightened and cursed softly when my fingers brushed nothing but my belt. Dammit, I’d forgotten my mace spray at home.
I glanced around again before bolting toward the end of the alley, intent on darting home. I’d barely taken two steps before I heard feet hit the ground. Before I could move, I was caught from behind in a sudden choke-hold. A damp cloth was forced over my mouth and my nose. The material reeked of some sort of pungent fluid. I fought as much as I could to get free of my captor’s firm grasp, but the chemical on the cloth worked too fast, and the scent was far too strong. Not a single breath could be taken that was not filled with that foul odor. My body started to go limp, and my eyelids grew heavy.
I tried to pull away, one last desperate struggle to get free as I kicked and squirmed about like I’d been taught, but it was all for naught. As I finally passed out and sank into the darkness of unconsciousness, I could only think of one thing; Why hadn’t I bothered to look up?
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